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Is Protein Rotation Beneficial for Dogs? How Healthy Dog Treats Fit In

Written by: Michelle Toma Olson



Time to read 5 min

Protein is arguably the most important component in a doggo’s diet, playing an essential role in overall canine health and wellness by providing nutrients his metabolism and bodily functions need to operate at peak capacity. While protein comes from multiple sources, we have learned in our previous post “Which Protein Makes for a Healthy Dog Treat?” that there are some proteins that are better than others for dogs. But does periodically rotating different types of proteins in doggy diets offer any health benefits? The short answer is YES, so let’s look at what protein rotation really means, what the key benefits are, and how to incorporate it into your dog’s diet with healthy dog treats, meals, toppers and chews.

What Is Protein Rotation?

Protein rotation is just that – switching different types of proteins in your pup’s meals occasionally rather than having her eat the same one all the time or forever! While most dogs are happy with whatever we put in their bowls, some are quite picky from the start. You might find that even the ones who eat their meals with gusto can lose their excitement for the same old thing all the time.

Samoyed pup with a Farm to Pet Chicken Chip full of protein.

For these reasons and more, we will examine below a trend that has developed over the past several years surrounding food rotation in general. According to, rotational feeding involves pet parents varying not only the protein given but also the food type, form, or overall composition. For example, this could mean swapping recipes with potato for those with rice, kibble for wet or raw food, or high protein food for a balanced blend.

However, animal protein rotation has become the dominant part of this trend, and with good reason – because of just how important it is to dog nutrition. Even though they aren’t obligate carnivores like cats, who can’t survive without meat, says dogs can be considered facultative carnivores. This means that while they might be able to survive on plant-based foods, dogs really thrive with the specific nutrients provided uniquely by animal proteins and the way their digestive systems metabolize them.

The Benefits of Protein Rotation

Sure, we can understand what protein rotation is, but why should we do it other than the issues of boredom or pickiness already mentioned? Actually, there are several ways our pooches can benefit from protein rotation, including the ones listed below.


First of all, protein rotation gives your pup’s diet a more complete and balanced nutritional profile. While all types of animal protein contain essential nutrients and amino acids needed by our pups to achieve optimal health, that doesn’t mean they all contain the same ones! Cases in point: chicken provides magnesium, vitamin E and folic acid; turkey is rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and niacin; and beef is a great source of vitamin D and iron. And while these and other complete proteins contain a range of amino acids, they have them at different levels. For example, chicken provides the most isoleucine; turkey is higher in proline; and beef rules for glutamic acid. Different meats even have different levels of saturated and unsaturated fats, both of which are needed in a dog’s daily diet for optimal nutrition.


While it may seem counterintuitive, too much of a good thing can actually cause a sensitivity or allergy to it. Overexposure to one type of protein or food, even a healthy one, has been shown to prompt food allergies in dogs, causing reactions including hot spots, stomach upset, itchiness and more. As long as your dog doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, she should be able to tolerate different types of proteins, especially those that are low on the allergen scale like turkey and fish. Protein rotation can help reduce the risk of developing these types of sensitivities and allergic reactions.


Not only do the varied nutrients offered by protein rotation help boost immunity, so does the diversity it offers your dog’s microbiome. A dog’s gut is meant to process a variety of foods, with each one prompting different responses in his digestive tract that makes it work more effectively. Similarly, just like with the human microbiome, when it works better, we benefit from lower levels of inflammation and in turn higher levels of resistance and immune response.

Regardless of the type of protein, it is super important to choose a high quality source, like the human grade, all natural poultry in our chicken and turkey chips and food toppers. Additives, fillers and chemicals can literally wipe out the nutritional value of the food and any value of rotation along with it.

Implementing Protein Rotation

Once you've decided to try protein rotation for your fur baby, the next question is how. While it’s easier to start during puppyhood, you can introduce it at any time in your doggo’s life as long as you do it slowly and watch for any adverse effects such as reduced appetite, lethargy or intestinal distress. When you introduce a new protein, start mixing 10 to 20 percent into your pup’s current food, moving up to 100 percent as long as he tolerates it well.

After that, most experts advise rotating proteins every three months – which makes purchasing and going through different recipe foods a little easier too! However, you can do it sooner – even every two to six weeks as long as you know your dog is okay with each protein. You can even mix a couple of proteins together thereafter, but be sure to stick to limited ingredient, whole food choices to not overwhelm a doggo’s tummy with too many unfamiliar or varied ingredients at once. As always, if you're unsure or have questions, seek advice from your vet or other pet health professional.

Another way to include different types of proteins in your dog’s daily diet is to use pure protein healthy dog treats, food toppers and antler chews. Our chicken chips are pure chicken protein nutrition. The same goes for our turkey chips and chicken and turkey toppers as well. Even our antler chews provide a great source of animal protein! While the composition is different than meats, elk antlers are about 80 percent protein and also offer high levels of minerals like calcium and phosphorous essential to the health of doggy bones, joints and teeth. 

Considering all these factors and the benefits of protein rotation – from the importance of protein in general to the nutritional benefits of varying them – it seems clear that including multiple types of animal protein in doggy meal plans is the way to go. Plus, it’s pretty simple and easy for us pet parents to do! Just choose a clean, high-quality food; introduce it slowly, watch for adverse effects, and repeat every few months. Once you know your furry friend likes and tolerates multiple proteins, you can give her more than one at a time, such as with healthy dog treats, toppers and chews like ours at Farm to Pet!

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